Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Truest statement of the week

Through this letter I express my unequivocal condemnation of Amnesty International with regards to the destabilizing role it has played in Nicaragua, my country of birth.
I open this letter quoting Donatella Rovera , who at the time this quote was made had been one of Amnesty International’s field investigators for more than 20 years:
“Conflict situations create highly politicized and polarized environments (…). Players and interested parties go to extraordinary lengths to manipulate or manufacture ‘evidence’ for both internal and external consumption. A recent, though by no means the only, example is provided by the Syrian conflict in what is often referred to as the ‘YouTube war,’ with a myriad techniques employed to manipulate video footage of incidents which occurred at other times in other places – including in other countries – and present them as ‘proof’ of atrocities committed by one or the other parties to the conflict in Syria.”
“Amnesty International’s maliciously titled report could be dismantled point by point.”
Ms. Rovera’s remarks, made in 2014, properly describe the situation of Nicaragua today, where even the preamble of the crisis was manipulated to generate rejection of the Nicaraguan government. Amnesty International’s maliciously titled report, Shoot to Kill: Nicaragua’s Strategy to Repress Protest, could be dismantled point by point, but doing so requires precious time that the Nicaraguan people don’t have, therefore I will concentrate on two main points:
The report completely lacks neutrality and;
Amnesty International’s role is contributing to the chaos in which the nation finds itself.

The operating narrative, agreed-upon by the local opposition and the corporate western media, is as follows: That president Ortega sought to cut 5 percent from retirees’ monthly retirement checks, and that he was going to increase contributions, made by employees and employers, into the social security system. The reforms sparked protests, the response to which was a government-ordered genocide of peaceful protestors, more than 60, mostly students. A day or two after that, the Nicaraguan government would wait until nightfall to send its police force out in order to decimate the Nicaraguan population, night after night, city by city, in the process destroying its own public buildings and killing its own police force, to then culminate its murderous rampage with a Mothers’ Day massacre, and so on.
“The unifying elements are that the government is committing genocide.”
While the above narrative is not uniformly expressed by all anti-government actors, the unifying elements are that the government is committing genocide, and that the president and vice-president must go.

Amnesty International’s assertions are mostly based on either testimony by anti-government witnesses and victims, or the uncorroborated and highly manipulated information emitted by U.S.-financed anti-government media outlets, and non-profit organizations, collectively known as “civil society.”

[. . .]

Camilo E. Mejia,
Iraq war veteran, resister, and conscientious objector (2003-2004)
Amnesty International prisoner of conscience (June 2004)
Born in Nicaragua, citizen of the world


Truest statement of the week II

There are many parties to thank for bringing about a possibility of peace in the region. The two Koreas themselves, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea in the north and the Republic of Korea in the south have made great strides towards peacefully co-existing. Their neighbors China and Russia have also played a role in minimizing tensions. Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-In  made a positive statement about the Trump and Kim agreement and called it “a historic event that has helped break down the last remaining cold war legacy on earth.” Corporate media make no mention of his support for the possibility of a diplomatic breakthrough.
Not one member of the Democratic Party has acknowledged that South Korea is supportive of a process that impacts it most directly. Democratic senators Tammy Duckworth and Chris Murphy have actually proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA ) that would require Pentagon approval for Trump to remove any of the nearly 30,000 American troops stationed there.

-- Margaret Kimberley, "Democrats Unhinged by Korea" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Tuesday night.  And we're done.

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?

Camilo Mejia gets another truest.
As does Margaret Kimberley.
What if we used Maxine Waters advice to hold her accountable for her (failed) promise to end the Iraq War?
Ava and C.I. take on the state of TV.
US troops are still in Iraq.  Now they're being publicly threatened -- by the militia which is now part of the official Iraqi army thanks to Hayder al-Abadi.
A look at some of the issues.
We spend on the wrong ones.
So why are we treating him otherwise?
Book coverage in the community.
The current immigration crisis has enough blame to spread around.

See you next week.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Do what your Aunt Maxie says?

She said people should harass (“absolutely harass”) Trump officials over immigration.
We agree with Maxine Waters.  But we don’t think she goes far enough.  We think everyone should harass Maxine Waters and her staff.  Remember, Maxine was the chair of the House’s Out of Iraq Caucus.   So let’s start harassing Aunty Maxie.  Let’s get her wig spinning.  Let’s call her fake ass out. 
The Iraq War continues  It’s time to hold all the politicians who promised to end it accountable.
And Maxine Waters says the way to do that is to “absolutely harass” them. 
Her office issued the following many years ago:

July 30, 2009
Press Release
On the one year anniversary of the founding of the 72 member "Out of Iraq" Congressional Caucus, U. S. Representative Maxine Waters (CA-35), the Chair and one of the group's founding members today launched a campaign to tell the American public the truth about H. J. Res. 73, more commonly known as the "Murtha Plan" and to draw the public's attention to the Bush Administration's incompetent handling of the Iraq war.  The anniversary and the launch of the campaign have occurred during the heated debate on H. Res. 861, the divisive Republican resolution on the war in Iraq.    
"The Republican's plan is to "stay the course" in Iraq regardless the consequences," said Rep. Waters.  "In sharp contrast to their meandering, aimless policy the Murtha Resolution will provide finality.  It is the best plan in Congress.  It redeploys our troops out of Iraq on a timetable established by US military leaders while safeguarding our allies and our security in the Middle East.
Rep. Waters will be conducting extensive public outreach and talking directly to the American public to build support for the Murtha Resolution, which will prevent anymore US troops from being sent to Iraq.  It will allow US military leaders on the ground to determine when best to redeploy our men and women in uniform.  The resolution calls for a contingent of Marines to remain in the Middle East to respond to threats that destabilize our allies in the region or the national security of the United States.  Finally, it will supplant prolonged military intervention with good faith diplomatic outreach as the primary way to pursue security and stability in Iraq. 
Rep. Waters went on to say, "The only thing worse than the Republicans' plan to keep our troops in Iraq with no clearly established objectives or plan to achieve them is the fact that the Democratic leadership seems to have no plan at all.  It is time for members on both sides of the aisle to become focused, get a backbone, and to put the full weight of the House of Representatives behind the only comprehensive, realistic strategy that will clean up the debacle in Iraq and bring US troops home."
"Iraq has become synonymous with corruption, ineptness, inadequate planning, and duplicity on the part of the Administration and Congressional Republicans.  At this point, the continuation of this war is based on ego—not principle," Waters added.
During last night's floor debate on H. Res. 861, Rep. Waters challenged House Republicans on their intentional efforts to distort the truth by suggesting that the Murtha resolution would require the United States to "cut and run" In Iraq.  She rebutted their erroneous claims by enumerating the three basic principles in H. J. Res 73, the Murtha Resolution.   These actions are consistent with the "Out of Iraq" Caucus under her leadership, being the strongest, organized voice in the House of Representatives on the war in Iraq.  
The "Out of Iraq" Caucus was established on June 16, 2005 to bring to the House of Representatives an on-going debate about the war in Iraq and the Administration's justification for the decision to go to war, to urge the return of US service members to their families as soon as possible, and to provide a voice in Congress for the individuals and groups who support these efforts.
To accomplish its goals, the "Out of Iraq" Caucus will work with other Congressional Caucuses and national organizations to hold hearings, press conferences and town hall meetings to educate the American people and pressure the Administration to conclude the war in Iraq.
That same year, Maxine said on the floor of Congress, "We are sick and tired.  Enough is enough."

Maxine is correct: Enough is enough!  Other members still in Congress? Barbara Lee and Jerrold Nadler would be two more.

And let’s not forget that they’ve been replaced with a new committee Congressional Iraq Caucus.  The Out Of Iraq Caucus wasn’t invited to join this one.  It’s composed solely of Iraq War veterans.  Apparently, people like US House Rep Seth Moulton don’t believe Congress members who didn’t serve in Iraq are smart enough to “create a venue to discuss the United States’ posture toward Iraq.”  

The Iraq War continues.  When will Maxine live up to her word?  Maybe we have to force her to live up to her word?

TV: Whose standards?

Us, we blame Doris Day.

It was March 20, 1973.  She issued a statement to explain she was done with her CBS sitcom after five years.  Five very unfunny years.  Five very awful years.   Five years when she never delivered one honest laugh.  Five years where sometimes she was a widow with two kids and sometimes she was a single woman with no kids and she apparently never really had a female friend.

Some will say, “That’s pre-THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW.”  Yes, Mary Richards had Rhoda and Phyllis (among others).  Equally true, Mary Tyler Moore’s Laura had Millie as a best friend on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW.  And that was long before THE DORIS DAY SHOW.  And Lucille Ball had Vivian Vance in I LOVE LUCY, THE LUCY SHOW and HERE’S LUCY.

THE DORIS DAY SHOW never knew what it was.  But it was based on one lie after another including the lie that Doris had no idea she was going to do a TV show until after her husband died.  No, Doris knew.  And had spoken of it publicly prior to her husband’s death.   What she didn’t know was how to do a funny show.

So after five years – most of them riding on Lucille Ball’s back – Doris finally packed it in and did so with a huffy statement about how TV didn’t just need to be about fluff.

a new illst


Did Doris think she was doing fluff?

Because she  wasn’t.  She was doing dull and boring.  She was doing half-assed.  She was chasing whatever she thought would make a hit.  Doris made many solid films.  In terms of TV, she did many great specials.  But in terms of a weekly series, she was a failure.


There’s nothing wrong with fluff.  It’s HART TO HART, for example.  It’s MOONLIGHTING.  It’s escapism and usually depends a great deal upon chemistry between the leads. 

TAKE TWO is fluff.  And we mean that as a compliment.  We were asked by an ABC suit, “How much do you hate it?” 


We were told “everyone” hates it.

We’ve only seen the first three episodes but we actually loved it.  Rachel Bilson is charming as an actress who is having career issues and thinks she found a way to help (by being a private investigator).  Her help is not especially appreciated by Eddie Cibrian as the private investigator. 

The two are charming.  The series is charming.  So why is it being attacked so?

Because it’s fluff?  There’s nothing wrong with good, escapist programming.

Doris Day, again, would’ve been better off doing fluff.

If “everyone” hates the show, that concerns us.  (We’re taking the suit at his word on the critical reaction.) 

Not only is there nothing wrong with fluff, there is something troubling about programming of late.
A periodical e-mailed us a few years back that they were going to show us (Ava and C.I.)  (and “show you up”) how it was done.  It being television criticism.  They informed us that their website would now feature a feminist doing a feminist critique.  Excuse us, doing “the feminist critique.”  We were told we were being challenged.

The man, yes, it was a man, who e-mailed seemed to think we would want to compete with someone else.

Not really.

First of all, we’re pretty secure with our place online.  Second, we do “a” feminist critique, not “the” feminist critique.  We don’t believe there’s one feminist critique.  By offering our take, we’re participating in the dialogue and we’re eager for other feminists to join in.  We need to be sure women are included in the TV canon such as it is.  Women have been trail blazers in front of the cameras and behind them, writers, show runners, you name it. 

So we really weren’t offended that another woman would be doing a feminist critique.  We were excited and had plans to read her but there’s this thing called life that prevented us from reading every one of her critiques.  We found a lot of what she offered of great interest.  But not all.


How was it a feminist show?

Now it could be.  And she said it was.  But we didn’t see how it was. 

We also were bothered by the need to applaud the show in any way at all.  It’s about a cannibal.
FAMILY GUY, this past season, had an episode that dealt with criticism of the show (including criticism we’d leveled).  It’s not ‘edgy’ (not one of our criticisms).  So in one scenario, Peter’s in debt and told that he’s dying and he kills someone and . . . eventually they need Meg who has a disorder on the autism spectrum.  In another one, Peter becomes transgender. 

That truly was the best episode of FAMILY GUY, one that is Emmy worthy.  (In the episode, they’re competing for an Emmy.)

It wasn’t just funny (though it was hilarious), it was also a commentary on what the Water Cooler Set seems to be demanding.

ABC’s WICKED CITY?  We’re still scratching our heads over how that made it on air to begin with.  “A new form of depravity!”  Did someone pitch it that way. 

We’re not prudes.    We have no problem with skin showing.  We have no problem with foul language.  We do have issues with gratuitous violence and that does include WICKED CITY and

We saw nothing feminist in HANNIBAL.  Doesn’t mean it wasn’t there, but we didn’t see it.  We saw a vile and disgusting show about kidnapping and murdering and corrupting people.  It was pretty much a snuff series.

And this got praised.  But TAKE TWO is a problem?

It’s a romantic comedy.  And we’re reminded of what Meryl Streep rightly noted about ROTTEN TOMATOES – male defined.  But here’s where she was wrong.  It’s not just the men.  The Water Cooler Set, as we’ve long noted, includes a lot of females who run with the male pack.  They seem to enjoy tearing women apart – think of any of the many actresses they’ve savaged – especially ones who do romantic comedies.

We’re thrilled with various procedurals and dramas led by characters with ticks.  But we also think a fluffy romantic comedy has a place on TV – especially when it’s well done and TAKE TWO is very well done.  Rachel and Eddie have great chemistry.  It’s a real shame that, in 2018, we’re letting a male defined standard exist instead of challenging it. 

That’s our feminist take.  Not “the” feminist take.  As for the periodical and their HANNIBAL loving feminist, she packed it in rather quickly.  A lot of women tend to.  We’re not sure why.  We’ve insulted Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey and faced the angry mob over that.  For example, from May 2005:

Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey apparently lack shame, as well as talent.

After the sense of perspetive/sacrifice died, the second casuality of the night was John Mellencamp's "R.O.C.K. in the USA." Previously a driving rock and roll salute to the pleasures of roots rock became, as sung by Simpson and Lachey, about as "gritty" as the Care Bears.

While name checking various sixties roots rock heroes, Nick Lachey, looking like a deer frozen in the headlights, stumbled past names such as Mitch Ryder until landing on "and don't forget James Brown" with a goofy smile plastered on his face suggesting that a light bulb had finally lit up.

Simpson's been dubbed the dumb one of this pair but we'd have to call it an even draw.

As the "special" continued, the entertainment casualities continued to pile up, far too many to mention. (Maybe Nightline can do a special on that?) But among the more noteable fatalities would have to be Simpson's laughable attempt to cover Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walking." While stamping across the stage and sticking out her nothing to brag about ass,
Simpson managed to chirp each word correctly even while never demonstrating that she had the first inkling as to what the song was actually about. It was as though you were watching a five-year-old scuffle around in Mommy's high heels.

Which is puzzling when you consider another fatality -- "God Bless America." Who knew it was an ode to orgasms?

Watching little Jessie wet her lips and tousle her mane (as a person she makes a great little pony), we were left to wonder what that or heaving bossoms had to do with either God or a country. Simpson apparently learnt the song at Our Lady of Lap Dance.

Which isn't to suggest that Nick Lachey wasn't racheting up his own entertainment body count.
We'd suggest that you have to be truly ignorant of all music genres to attempt a rap in the midst of a country song. Determined to get some "kills" of his own, Lachey proceeded to do just that.  While wearing, it should be noted, what appeared to be more mascara than Kip Winger and Peter Frampton combined. Boy George would have told Nick the make up was "over done."

Equally jaw dropping was the realization that Lachey thought he was cribbing Elvis Presley's pelvis thrusts. If that's Nick's idea of a pelvic thrust, don't expect children in their near future.

Throughout he repeatedly name checked Simpson, never forgetting to mention that she was his wife. Not even the narrator of "Wedding Bell Blues" was so obsessed with marriage! But then it's apparently his only claim to fame so pushing it was in his best interest and reminded the the troops why he was on stage in the first place.

Interwoven between stage patter (really bad stage patter) and the occassional song, Lachey and Jessica would try to do things. One time Jessica Simpson attempted to practice shooting. She had to stop because the kick from the rifle was too much. Tour of Duty? Then Lachey wanted to look the doofus (or maybe he can't help that) and put on the special padding used to train attack dogs. Considering that Abu Ghraib is far from a distant memory, that might not have been such a wise choice.

We survived their mini-mob that grabbed torches over the above.  We’ve survived Danny Schechter’s nasty e-mails attacking us for refusing to praise Ike Turner as a person.  When Turner passed, we didn’t attack his musical contributions.  We did note that he terrorized Tina Turner.  That’s what he was, a terrorist.  He beat her, he put her in the hospital repeatedly.  Sorry, we’re not going to cry over the death of Ike.

And he insulted us and called us “man haters” and so much more nonsense.  Because we wouldn’t cry that a terrorist died.


That’s the word for someone like Ike Turner.

And as feminists, all the men in the world can whine (and the women who run with them can join in the whining) and it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to us.  Feminism is telling the truth.  Feminism is splitting the world wide open with our truths -- as Ruth Rosen has noted many times.

The one who packed it in?  We don’t know why she did.  But we doubt she was trying to be us or competing with us.  She had her own voice and that’s also what feminism is about – multiple voices, multiple conversations, sharing, learning, rethinking.  It’s a process that we go through forever.  It’s not a finish line so there’s really no competition with any other women.  That seems to have been missed in the male defined world as well.


Tweet you better not miss

2 weeks ago air jets targeted a group of Hashd Al-Shaabi Militants on the border of - near . Yesterday Head of Hashd Al-Shaabi Militia Al-Muhandis stated that the Militia will not stay silent and will target the Americans for targeting the .


What are babies doing behind bars in Canada? - Asylum seekers and their kids are also kept in jails in Canada.


Some care about the topic.

Some care about pagentry and causing scenes.

That would include Hillary Clinton.  Despite raking in millions currently on yet another speaking tour, Hillary gave nothing to help the current immigrants caught in crisis.  She did, however, 'raise' money for them -- asking for donations via a Tweet.  That money?  She then turned around and donated . . . to pay for protests protests.  Not, mind you, to help pay legal expenses for the immigrants and let them have good attorneys, but the money instead went to fund protests.

Once upon a time, we expected protesters to protest because they were passionate about a topic.  The Hillary Clinton model is you protest because you're paid.

And what are these protests helping?

Sometimes not very much.

The price of Virtue-signaling

No, that's not helpful at all.

POWERLINE notes the latest CBS NEWS poll results:

Which of these do you think should be done with families trying to enter the U.S. illegally?
Release the entire family back to their home country together: 48%
Arrest the parents and keep the children in a separate detention facility: 4%
Arrest the parents but keep the children with them in the same detention facility: 11%
Release the entire family in the U.S. temporarily and require that they report back for a hearing later: 21%
Not sure: 16%

Yes, Hillary does love the protests that she pays for but maybe it's time for some teach-ins instead?

This is a global issue and it involves issues including poverty and war, as noted on last week's VOICES OF THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA (KPFA, here for the June 20, 2018 archive).

Khalil Bendib: In the summer of 2015, a wave of refugees, taking perilous sea and land crossings to get into Europe, revealed one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern history.  The wars in Syria and Iraq -- and the worsening situation in Afghanistan -- having forced hundreds of thousands of people to leave their homes and risk their lives to seek sanctuary elsewhere.  According to the most recent reports, in 2014, 14 million people were displaced by war -- the most in a single year since WWII.  In the past decade, 40,000 people died trying to cross international borders. The dramatic increase in the influx of refugees to Europe has produced a rise in anti-refugee sentiment, the enactment of anti-refugee laws and the construction of walls and fences exacerbating the plight of millions of people who were forced to flee violence and poverty.

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